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Appointment and Functions
The Minister for Conservation was first appointed in 1949 with initial responsibility for soil conservation. From 1973 the portfolio was greatly expanded with the main additional functions and responsibilities being:
to conserve the State's fish and wildlife resources
to protect and manage National Parks
to advise on protection of the environment such as waste discharge, pollution and noise emissions
to co-ordinate the use and development of public land
to protect water catchment areas
to co-ordinate the development of the Port Phillip area and prevent deterioration of the foreshore (until 1981)
to administer and maintain the Zoological Gardens
to provide facilities for research, e.g. the Arthur Rylan Institute for Environmental Research and Marine Science Laboratories
to control licenses in relation to fisheries
to determine appeals relating to grants for commercial fishing licenses and waste discharge licenses.
From 1949 until 1973 when the Ministry for Conservation (VA 551) was established the Department of the Premier (VA 2717) provided administrative support to the Minister for Conservation. From 1973 a number of agencies and statutory bodies concerned with conservation and the environment were grouped into this portfolio, including the Soil Conservation Authority, Environment Protection Authority, the National Parks Service, the Port Phillip Authority (until 1981) and Land Conservation Council. The Fisheries and Wildlife Division of the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) became part of the Ministry of Conservation (VA 551) from 1973.
In 1975 the Minister also became responsible for the Victorian Archaeological Survey and from 1979 for animal protection and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the latter function subsequently being transferred to the Minister of Agriculture (VRG 34) in 1981. In the same year the Minister of Lands (VRG 18) resumed responsibility for the Port Phillip Authority.
In 1983 the environment protection and heritage conservation functions of the Minister for Conservation, except for Crown land conservation, protection of fisheries and wildlife, marine and soil conservation matters, and National Parks, passed to the Minister for Planning and Environment (VRG 65). Responsibility for the management and protection of the State's natural resources, including land and living terrestrial, aquatic and marine resources and of the Royal Melbourne Zoo was assumed by the Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands (See VRG 75).
Location of Records
Some records of authorities and divisions have been transferred to the Public Record Office, although no central records of the Ministry of Conservation (VA 551) are held.
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.6.11 (Fisheries and Wildlife), 3.6.12-3.6.19 (National Parks) 3.16.20 (Royal Melbourne Zoo), 3.6.22 (Soil Conservation).
Minister of Conservation 1949 - 1983